Premier’s Technology Council & BCIC – should they stay or should they go?

The Globe and Mail’s Gary Mason penned an excellent article yesterday about the B.C. government’s efforts to foster technology and innovation.

There has been plenty of talk by the B.C. government in recent years about its desire to turn the province into Silicon Valley North, but those dreams have mostly been just that. While there have certainly been some success stories, the province’s high-tech sector is still embarrassingly small and insignificant in global terms.

Overall the article is meant to prompt positive action from Premier Christy Clark but Mason questions whether the Premier’s Technology Council and the B.C. Innovation Council (BCIC) that she inherited from Gordon Campbell will be sufficient vehicles.

Mason questions the rationale in having overlapping organizations – both the long-standing B.C. Technology Industry Association (BCTIA) and the BCIC run similar programs. But Mason’s bigger questions fall on funding. With revenue of over $12 Million in 2010 the BCIC only spent $134,993 on “talent development and innovation” and $4 Million on “operations”.

There are many well-meaning and hard-working people at both the innovation council and Premier’s technology group. But it’s time to take a hard look at both organizations with an eye to reassessing their roles and either getting rid of them altogether or giving them higher profiles and more focus.

These are strong words coming a critic that isn’t directly part of BC’s technology ecosystem but perhaps that’s what the province needs to get out of it’s current tech funk.

What do you think? What should Premier Clark do with the Premier’s Technology Council and the BCIC?

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